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How to set up split-screen in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War

Here's what you need to know about playing Black Ops Cold War multiplayer and zombies in split-screen.

Games are always better with friends and Black Ops Cold War is no exception. This somewhat underrated entry in the iconic Call of Duty franchise has the option for split-screen in certain modes, allowing you to get competitive with a friend in the same room.

Split-screen games are rare to come by nowadays (even some of the best co-op games lack it), and although it didn’t receive a whole lot of love during Black Ops Cold War’s time in the spotlight, the mode is still a lot of fun. Setting it up though can be a bit confusing. The process is somewhat similar to previous games, but there are a few new hoops that you’ll need to jump through to play one of the best FPS games split-screen.

On the game’s release, Black Ops Cold War’s split-screen capabilities were shoddy, to say the least. In multiplayer, crashes were frequent, and in Zombies, the feature didn’t work at all. However, a pre-Season One patch rectified that, and while it is still a little clunky all these years later, you can at least join forces and play split-screen without the fear of your game having a meltdown. So, without further ado, here’s how to set up split-screen games in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War.

How to play Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War split-screen multiplayer

If you’re looking to play Cold War’s multiplayer with a friend in the same room, then you can – but only on console. Sadly, split-screen isn’t an option for PC players even years on from its 2020 release.

If you’re on console though, then setting up split-screen multiplayer takes only a minute or two, but there are a couple of caveats. If you’re looking to play online, then each additional user must have access to an account with Xbox Live or PlayStation Network. If they don’t, then you’ll be restricted to playing local modes only.

Once you’ve decided what you’re going to play, turn on the second controller, sign in to your account, and press X/A to join the party. Once that’s done, the lobby leader can then choose what multiplayer modes to search for.

Before you load into a game, it’s also worth checking your settings. The split-screen display is defaulted to a vertical view, so if you prefer having your split-screen display side by side, you can change that via the graphics setting.

Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War split-screen: The player firing their weapon at a horde of approaching zombies while holding a Speed Cola can in their left hand.

However, whichever display option you go for, expect to see black bars surround your screen. For whatever reason, Black Ops Cold War split-screen does not fill the entire display.

Following a pre-Season 1 update, Treyarch fixed a number of known issues with multiplayer split-screen that plagued it at launch, including the game crashing when opening up leaderboards. Nowadays, the feature is much safer and smoother to use, although there are still a few bugs.

How to play Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War zombie split-screen

Zombies is a game mode that relies on teamwork. While you can play the mode both locally and online, fans were aghast to learn that on release you could not play local split-screen due to a bug.

However, Treyarch later fixed the issue, and players in the same household can now enjoy some Zombies action together once more. The setup is identical to the process in multiplayer.

Here’s what you need to do to play split-screen zombies: 

  • Connect a second controller to your console
  • Sign in to your respective PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live account
  • Press X/A to join the lobby leader

The Zombie split-screen process is still a little bit buggy, so if you’re struggling to add a second controller to your game, make sure the second player is using a PSN/Xbox Live account and that both players have added each other as friends on their respective network. If you’re still facing errors, restart the game and try again.

It’s worth noting that if you’re trying to play split-screen online with friends, you won’t be able to host the party. If you try you’ll be faced with an error code. Instead, ask a friend to host a private party, join on them, and add your additional controllers following the steps above.

Like in multiplayer, you will see some black bars taking up some of your screen and the graphics quality will take a bit of a hit, but it should run nice and smooth now that Treyarch has fixed some of the split-screen gremlins.